x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

1990 World Cup heroes set for reunion

Players from the only team to have represented the UAE in the World Cup finals are to get back together to take on football greats from around the world.

DUBAI // Players from the only team to have represented the UAE in the World Cup finals are to get back together to take on football greats from around the world. Abdulrehman Mohamed Abdullah, the captain of the UAE team which took part in Italia '90, will lead out his side in the Emirates Airline Dubai Football Sevens this month. Abdullah and World Cup heroes like Adnan al Talyani and the Khamees brothers, Fahad and Nasir, will be taking on former players from English Premier League sides Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea, Italy's AC Milan and Glasgow Rangers and Celtic from Scotland, in the legends section of the tournament to be held from March 11-13.

Abdullah, now an analyst on national television, said: "It will be an opportunity for fans who have not seen the 1990 team in action. We are really looking forward to playing against teams from Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, AC Milan and others. "We are the home team so, of course, our aim will be to win the title. We are not worried about the big names like Ian Rush [the former Liverpool striker] who will be in the opposition. We are representing the country and we will try our best to make the fans proud.

"We have started training in earnest for this tournament as well and are ready to delight our home fans who have always stood behind us and given us their love and respect." The UAE have been drawn in the same group as Arsenal, Liverpool and Rangers, and the top two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-finals. Abdullah is hoping his side will manage that because he is keen to test himself against Paolo Maldini's AC Milan. "I support AC Milan in Italy, so am looking forward to seeing Maldini and Franco Baresi," he said. "We'll be playing our first game against Liverpool and it would be nice to start with a win."

arizvi@thenational.ae